Women's soccer team beats France. (By Alex Morgan, Getty Images Sports)
By Robert Klemko, USA TODAY
GLASGOW, Scotland - Hope Solo's first game back in an Olympic goal since 2008 began as horribly as she could have imagined.
France scored back-to-back goals in the 12th and 14th minutes of the women's soccer preliminary match at Hampden Park.
The Americans rebounded quickly, led by a pair of goals from 23-year-old striker Alex Morgan. The USA scored four goals in a row to dump perhaps its toughest opponent in Group G before an estimated 30,000 fans, which would be the largest crowd to ever see a women's match in Scotland.
Yet the game seemed headed for a quick resolution. First there was the long-distance bomb from Gaetane Thiney. Next came a short stab off the right foot of Marie-Laure Delie, who moved in after some ricochets near goal.
For the first 15 minutes, in a game played just a few blocks from where slapstick comedy legend Stan Laurel learned theater, American defenders closer resembled Laurel and Hardy than Fawcett and Chastain.
But back-to-back first-half goals from Abby Wambach and Morgan set Solo and the defense up for a redemptive second half. After 10 minutes of short passing and setups, a simple crossing pass from Megan Rapinoe produced a Carli Lloyd strike and a goal in the 55th minute that gave the USA its first lead, 3-2.
Solo's work over the better part of the second half was limited to scooping up overshot French passes down the sidelines. She didn't face danger until the 65th minute, quelling a dangerous cross. Soon after, a brilliant long cross from Rapinoe near midfield provided an easy tap-in for Morgan, and the USA had a 4-2 lead.
The French rebounded in chances, and in the 75th minute, Solo dove to intercept a cross and was hit on the way down, landing hard on her surgically repaired right shoulder. She would finish the game and didn't look to be in any pain.
The USA continues its 2008 gold medal defense Saturday vs. Colombia here.